Entertainment

New Disneyland annual pass has fewer blockout dates — but there’s a catch

As the hype continues to grow for Disneyland’s hotly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, officials are expanding the Anaheim theme park’s annual pass offerings.

The new $599 Flex Pass offers fewer blockout dates than other Disneyland annual passes, but instead requires reservations at traditionally high traffic times throughout the year, Disney announced Thursday.

It launches on May 21, just days before the new “Star Wars”-themed land opens May 31. (For more about the new addition, including its location, reservations and rules, check out this comprehensive guide.)

The new pass comes after Disneyland upset many by getting rid of its more affordable $469 Southern California Passport in 2017. The park also upped ticket prices in January, increasing the cost of a one-day, one-park ticket to more than $100.

There are still some blockout days, or, days when you can’t visit the park, with the new pass.

On a preliminary examination, the weeks surrounding Christmas this year are a no-go for most passes, including the Flex Pass. But the new pass theoretically opens up some days that were traditionally off-limits for annual passholders by marking them as reservation days.

For example, the month of July is entirely blocked out on both the Southern California Select Passport, the park’s cheapest annual pass at $399 per year, and its next least expensive, the Disney Deluxe Passport at $799 per year. (Disneyland’s more expensive Signature and Signature Plus passports — $1,149 and 1,399 per year, respectively — both allow unrestricted July visits. )

With the Flex Pass, the entire month is available, subject to reservations.

How it works

If that sounds confusing, you’re not alone.

The new Flex Pass is a departure from Disneyland’s previous passports in that it introduces a degree of uncertainty to the mix. Yes, you might have more available days, but during high-traffic times — when more people want to visit the park — you’ll need to book your reservations up to 30 days in advance.

This is a boon to visitors who like to plan their visits ahead of time, but might make it more difficult for Southern California residents who are more likely to visit the park on a whim.

Here’s how it works, according to the Disneyland Resort website:

Passholders can make reservations on the not-yet-live My Annual Passports page on the Disney website, or through the Disneyland mobile app.

Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance of the day you want to visit, but everyone in your party must have a Flex Pass in order to reserve the day for them as well. You can’t make a reservation for a friend who has a SoCal Select or a Deluxe Passport, for example.

You’ll be allowed to have up to two reservations in a 30-day window. Once you have two, you will have to wait for the first to pass or cancel one in order to make more.

Canceling your reservation is important if you decide not to go on your reservation day; three “no-shows” in a 90-day window will result in a month-long prohibition on making new reservations.

Also important — you’ll need to reserve visits to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park if you want to park hop. The pass-available dates for both parks can vary, so check the blockout date calenders for both parks to prevent any confusion.

Once a day has the max number of reservations, the day will show up on ticket calendars online and on the app as “Reservation Unavailable.”

Not all visits will require reservations.

Like the other annual passes, the Flex Pass also has several “good to go” days — marked on Disneyland’s online calendars in green — that you won’t need to reserve ahead of time. These are largely Monday through Thursday, when park attendance is at a low.

The pass can also be paid for with a monthly payment plan similar to the park’s other passes. According to Disneyland media relations manager Melissa Britt, the pass will cost about $38 per month on the payment plan.

For more information on the new pass, and other annual pass benefits, check out https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/flex-passport.

Hey, Star Wars fans: We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about Disneyland’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. What do you want to know about the new section of Disneyland? Send your questions, tips, praise and gripes to kleslie@thetribunenews.com.

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